During the years 2205, 2006 and 2007, Armenia imported 1,955 tons of molybdenum ore from a variety of countries. The importation of the ore has officially been registered by the Customs Service as, « Temporary importation for reprocessing ». The value of the imported ore according to Customs is 19.7 billion drams (approximately $66 million). Industry experts state that one ton of molybdenum is derived from every two tons of ore. We should note that all the experts we talked to were amazed that Armenia has been importing molybdenum ore, stating that such a thing is an impossibility.
Product transported toArmenia under « Temporary importation for reprocessing » guidelines is not subject to custom taxes and VAT tax. Also, companies importing under such official conditions are obliged to export the finalized reprocessed goods. It is difficult to say under what category the reprocessed ore has been defined as and the amount of the final product. It is possible that after reprocessing the amount of molybdenum remained the same as the imported ore or a bit less. Then too, it could be more.
During the years 2005, 2006 and 2007, the average price of molybdenum of the international market was $80,000. If we assume for a moment that 977 tons of pure molybdenum was obtained from the 1,955 tons of imported ore then the value of the reprocess product would be around $78 million. If it turns out that the importation and exportation was transacted illegally with false documentation, those involved in the deal have dealt a multi-million dollar blow to the Armenian government.
We have the bases on which to make such deductions since the countries from which the molybdenum ore is being imported from do not possess such working mines. Then too, it doesn’t make much sense to transport the ore all the way to distant Armenia and incur great transportation costs when there are suitable reprocessing plants in neighboring countries. The countries from which Armenia imports molybdenum are Great Britain (Virgin Islands), China, Kirghizia, Russia, the United States, Estonia, Iran, Uzbekistan, etc.
As is well-known, the Virgin Islands serve as an off-shore zone and it is not by accident that the companies owned by some of Armenia’s oligarchs are registered there. We have yet been able to verify what company or companies have imported that product, where has it been reprocessed and, after reprocessing, how much molybdenum or other product has been exported in order to calculate the loss to the government. We have, however, applied to Gagik Khachatryan, President of the ROA State Customs Committee for answers and rest assured that we’ll inform our readers when we receive any new information regarding molybdenum ore imported to Armenia in the years 2005, 2006 and 2007.